Pulses, edible oil imports stuck at port awaiting SRO

Updated April 07, 2020

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Shortages feared as demand surges due to lockdown. —AFP/File
Shortages feared as demand surges due to lockdown. —AFP/File

KARACHI: Importers of pulses and representatives of the edible oil industry said on Monday that they are unable to clear their consignments from the port because duty and tax relief related Statutory Regulatory Orders (SROs) have still not been issued.

On March 30, the government had decided on to bring advance tax on import of pulses to zero from two per cent and exemption of two per cent additional customs duty on oil seeds and palm oil imports.

The government had reduced different taxes and duties on import and supply of different food items for alleviating the adverse impact of Covid-19 and lockdown.

“Our members are waiting for the SRO so that they can get duty relief on pulses imports,” Patron in Chief, Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association (KWGA), Anis Majeed said.

Shortages feared as demand surges due to lockdown

The KWGA chief said he has taken up the matter with Chief Collector of Customs on Monday. She responded that as soon as she gets any information, the decision would be announced on the Customs website, he added.

Anis said a number of importers are confused whether to clear their consignments of pulses while few of them are trying to clear their goods as they believe that not releasing pulses may create shortage in the markets at a time when buying of pulses and other essential items have surged sharply on rising demand from ration providers to the poor people.

He claimed that 400-500 containers carrying about 25 tonnes each of various pulses from Australia, Canada and Myanmar are awaiting clearance.

He said importers of oil seeds are also double minded as they are not clearing 32,000 tonnes of canola seed that landed at Karachi Port and another 64,000 tonnes at Port Qasim.

Former vice chairman Pakistan Vanasapati Manu­facturers Association (PVMA), Sheikh Umer Rehan said he did not understand why the government took decision of providing relief to the masses when the SRO of the said decision had not issued in one week’s time on palm oil and various oil seeds.

The edible oil industry and solvent extractors are waiting for the SRO to clear their consignments on duty relief.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2020